Constance G. Jones
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Constance G. Jones
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Publisher: Beautiful Sky Publishing
Date of Publication: 1213/2020
Number of pages: 245
Word Count: 65,132
Cover Artist: mycustombookcover.com
Tagline: Survive the darkness of the cocoon and you will emerge into the light of day.
Raised in San Diego in the 1980s, Constance was born to be a Californian dreamer. The fourth of nine children in a poor, dysfunctional family, she grew up with three demons in her household: alcohol, abuse, and absence. She buried her dreams in the dark cocoon of her childhood. As a teenager, an accident upended her world and cursed her with epilepsy for the rest of her life.
Entering adulthood, Constance hoped she’d left the worst behind her. Instead, toxic relationships, misguided spiritual teachings, and close calls with death nearly broke her.
But Constance discovered curses can hide blessings in their inner layers. Instead of breaking, she chose to break free, realizing her heart could sprout wings to take her in the direction of her wildest dreams…
In a mesmerizing memoir that is by turns heartbreaking and heartwarming, writer and philanthropist Constance Grays Jones retraces her precarious journey towards truth, love, community, and self-discovery. Tackling issues of epilepsy, depression, infertility, and family drama with refreshing sass, humor, and compassion, she reminds us that we are products of our past but also the creators of our purpose. Her inspiring story is a wakeup call for the soul, showcasing the tenacity of the human spirit, the pockets of sunlight in the darkest corners, and the transformational power of belief and love.
It is remarkable how lonely you can feel even when constantly surrounded by people. It is eerie how life is dictated by luck—the luck of which family you are born into. I had friends who had stable households, loving parents, families who always made time for them, normal siblings, and access to ballet lessons, summer camp, and nice clothes. I, on the other hand, lived in the heart of chaos. I felt neglected, unseen, and forced to grow up fast. I’d tried running away a few times. I’d tried staying with my relatives for as long as I was able. I always ended up back home.
Would they even notice if I was gone? Would they even care?
I’d be one less kid to worry about. One less mouth to feed. There were so many of us anyway. And I would be free… free from the pain, neglect, emptiness… free from my returning father.
Derrick would care. I felt a pang of regret that I would leave my best friend behind. I thought about my younger sisters. Would they hate me for abandoning them as our dad had abandoned us? Would they be able to take care of themselves without me? Maybe my parents would have regrets. Maybe my mom would feel horrible for ignoring me. Maybe she would cry over my little dead body and wish she’d treated me nicer. She would tell my dad and he would feel like it was his fault. He’d have to live with the regret for his entire life.
Yes. Good. It would serve them right.
I wondered if I would go to Hell. According to the Bible, God would damn me for taking my own life. It was a sin. The fires would be hot… there would be pitchforks, torture, and demons…
My hands started to shake. I couldn’t get myself to open the bottle of pills.
Or maybe God would take pity on me. Maybe he’d take me up to Heaven so I could finally be happy. That would be a very different sort of afterlife. I envisioned blue skies and sunny fields of lush green grass, colorful flowers and refreshing rivers, beautiful smiling angels and music. I would be able to fly in Heaven, it would be a place filled with enchanting music, and I would be given everything I’d ever wanted in my life. I wouldn’t be poor. I wouldn’t cry myself to sleep at night. I wouldn’t need to live with my father ever again.
I can’t take it anymore. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…
A knock on the door startled me. “Connie?” Andre’s voice drifted through the keyhole. “What are you doing in there?”
I paused. He had seen me go in. I’d pushed past him while I’d been crying. Had he seen the pill bottle? “None of your business!”
“Open the door!” he said.
“No!” I retorted.
“Open the door! Open it now!”
His demands and his frantic knocking incited a fresh wave of tears. The enormity of what I was about to do frightened me. His frantic awareness of it frightened me even further.
“No,” I kept saying. My hands were shaking so badly that it was difficult to get the cap off the bottle, but I finally managed. “No!” This was what I wanted, right? Yes, I told myself. This was what I needed. There couldn’t be any turning back. They won’t change, I reprimanded myself. Nothing will change. Only I can change this. It wasn’t a bad thing. I hadn’t contemplated death too much, but I hoped that it would be like swimming out of blackness and into the light, like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. Surely it would be better than all this.
I’ve wondered, since then, why so many people choose bathrooms as a suicide setting. There are many reasons to choose from, probably. Bathrooms are where pills and razors are located. They are private spaces, where other people are far less likely to interrupt you or bang down the door if they think you’re taking your sweet time flossing or grappling with constipation. Bathrooms are also easier to clean since water is in great supply. Then there’s the mirror, too, offering a final face-down and farewell.
For my fourteen-year-old self, this bathroom had become a narrow ledge at the world’s end. I teetered on the cliff between hope and despair, reeling from my never-ending exposure to a world of violence and vulnerability where no one seemed to care and no one seemed to notice. From my vantage point, there was only one way out: step off the cliff and into the void. I wasn’t sure yet if falling meant flying.
Amazing! This book has completely left me verklempt. I was prepared to be bored as it is a memoir yet nothing could be farther from the truth! Awe-inspiring, heart wrenching and heartfelt, I read page after page with tears streaming down my face. Constance is an amazing person who managed to find the positive in all things. What a great example she is. Her book is one to keep on the family bookshelf as a reminder that all things are possible.
I gratefully received this complimentary copy upon request and am voluntarily leaving my review. All opinions are my own.
About the Author:
Constance G. Jones is a San Diego native, an avid reader, and a storyteller. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Management and Organizational Communications from Point Loma Nazarene University and has since worked in administration, public relations, and career services; most recently, she serves as a site manager at Walmart Global eCommerce. In 2016, Constance founded Elevate Foundation with her husband, Claude, driven by their personal mission to make an impact in their local community and inspire others to do the same. Emerging Butterfly: A Memoir is Constance’s debut book.
Elevate Foundation: http://elevate.foundation